Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball
Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball

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Annotation: Hall-of-famer Elgin Baylor was one of basketball's all-time-greatest players, an innovative athlete, team player, and quiet force for change. One of the first professional African-American players, he inspired others on and off the court. But when traveling for away games, many hotels and restaurants turned Elgin away because he was black. One night, Elgin had enough and staged a one-man protest that captured the attention of the press, the public, and the NBA.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #238999
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Illustrator: Morrison, Frank,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-419-74108-X Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8659-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-419-74108-1 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8659-1
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2019048159
Dimensions: 27 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
A new generation of fans will be introduced to the legendary basketball player Elgin Baylor.Elgin Baylor experienced many barriers on his path to NBA success. He grew up in World War II–era Washington, D.C., in a time of segregated playgrounds and a general lack of access to public basketball equipment. Even when he became a prominent player for his all-Black high school’s basketball team, local colleges would not allow him admission because they “wanted ‘whites only.’ ” Yet Baylor persevered to become a professional basketball player during the height of the civil rights movement, snapshots of which are interleaved with the primary narrative: the Montgomery bus boycott, the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, a sit-in at a Wichita lunch counter. With Baylor’s story, Bryant and Morrison demonstrate that NBA players have a long history of speaking (or, in Baylor’s case, sitting) out against injustices in society. Bryant’s spare, emphatic text relates how Baylor’s Minneapolis Lakers were affected by Jim Crow and how his protest led to a change in NBA policy. Morrison’s vibrant paintings emphasize Baylor’s lithe athleticism, elongated arms and legs extending balletically. An author’s note contextualizes Baylor’s story, including the perhaps-surprising information that in his day, basketball was not nearly as popular as it is today. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 40.1% of actual size.)A timely read about an NBA player who spoke out against Jim Crow injustice. (further reading, notes, timeline) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* When Elgin Baylor was a child, Black players weren't allowed on public basketball courts in his hometown, Washington, D.C. But when he was 14, a hoop went up in a nearby field, and he developed an elegant, airborne playing style all his own. After college, he joined the Minnesota Lakers for the 1958 59 season. Once, they traveled to a West Virginia town where the hotels and restaurants served "whites only." The team stayed at an integrated guest house, and Baylor ate sandwiches from the train station. When he refused to suit up for the game, watching from the bench instead, spectators complained. But soon the NBA announced that its teams would not patronize restaurants or hotels that practiced discrimination. After an exceptional season, Baylor was named the NBA Rookie of the Year. The text mentions milestones of the civil rights movement within the story and celebrates Baylor's principled stand against segregation as well as his notable basketball skills. Morrison's captivating oil paintings feature dramatic compositions, rich colors, and the artist's distinctive, elongated figures. Equally impressive is his ability to portray the emotional depths of individuals, from small-minded segregationists to heroes of the civil rights movement. Strong storytelling and riveting artwork make this a memorable picture book.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist
School Library Journal Starred Review
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: P-2

The story of Elgin Baylor, basketball icon and civil rights advocate, from an all-star team Hall-of-famer Elgin Baylor was one of basketball's all-time-greatest players--an innovative athlete, team player, and quiet force for change. One of the first professional African-American players, he inspired others on and off the court. But when traveling for away games, many hotels and restaurants turned Elgin away because he was black. One night, Elgin had enough and staged a one-man protest that captured the attention of the press, the public, and the NBA. Above the Rim is a poetic, exquisitely illustrated telling of the life of an underrecognized athlete and a celebration of standing up for what is right.


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